Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Nissan Bosses 'Want Labour To Work With Theresa May For Brexit Deal'

Nissan Sunderland plant Diesel's death is part of the Nissan story but Brexit uncertainty is still weighing on UK investment
Cary Marshall | 07 February, 2019, 04:32

Business minister Richard Harrington conceded the decision was "a disaster" and that Brexit was partly to blame.

Clark has now released the four-page letter sent to Nissan in 2016, promising "a package of support in areas such as skills, R&D and innovation" that "could amount to [.] up to £80m". In a bid to perform damage limitation, the government has insisted that Nissan's decision will not result in any job losses at the plant (but this is unsurprising as it is a planned expansion that has been cancelled).

"We will set our ambitions high and vigorously pursue continued access to the European market as an objective in future negotiations", Clark pledged in the letter. Last year Nissan cut hundreds of jobs at the Sunderland factory in response to declining demand for diesel models, Reuters said.

Clark said in the 2016 letter that government had already been able to confirm £22m of support for the foundry at Sunderland to become a European development centre for the firm's alliance with fellow carmakers Renault and Mitsubishi.

"They will be invited to re-submit an application in the light of the changed investments that they are making".

Nissan's decision to scrap plans to build its next-generation X-Trail model in northern England is "very disappointing", Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Monday.

Nissan had been making the cars in sunderland since 1986 and it has nearly 7,000 people employed there.

More news: Women's Brains Are Aging Slower Compared To Men's Brains

In its announcement, Nissan noted that since 2016 "the environment for the auto industry in Europe has changed dramatically", including "changing emissions regulations", which put substantial pressure on vehicles with diesel engines.

The continued uncertainty over Brexit "is not helping companies like ours to plan for the future", said Nissan Europe Chairman Gianluca de Ficchy.

"Clearly it is bad news for Sunderland but on the other hand they are committed to building plenty of other vehicles there - the Qashqai for example".

Not long ago the automotive industry was the darling of a renaissance in British manufacturing, with David Cameron and George Osborne frequently found opening plants or assembly lines while in government.

The timing of the announcement comes just two days after an EU-Japan free trade agreement kicked in, which includes the European Union's commitment to removing tariffs of 10 percent on imported Japanese cars.

Unite Union representatives are due to meet with Nissan bosses on Monday to discuss the situation.

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